In brief

  • A new messaging app called Session doesn't collect sensitive info.
  • You don't even need a phone number or an email to sign up.
  • It's awaiting a security audit.

We now have a blockchain-based messaging app for those who want complete secrecy.

The Loki Foundation launched a whitepaper for Session, an end-to-end encrypted messaging app, last month. The app, which is now live on Android and Apple phones, claims not to leave a data trail behind, preventing authorities from snooping on your activity.

Session is a fork of Signal, a messaging app that’s known for its end-to-end encryption and is used by privacy diehards in the crypto community. But introducing blockchain technology has let it go further in its quest for unrivaled privacy. 

The app runs on the Service Node blockchain network. This is a decentralized network used for sending messages between users. And it makes the app more private by hiding the IP addresses of the users on the network and enabling it to work without needing phone numbers. Both of these types of data are known as metadata.

To do so, the nodes on the network only record the IP addresses of the previous and following nodes. Although the first node will see your IP address, your IP address will never be exposed to the recipients of your messages, or to anyone watching over the network.

This isn’t the first app trying to solve the “metadata problem.” Cryptography pioneer David Chaum has created a blockchain-based messaging app called xx messenger, which runs on his Elixxir network. 

Session also uses cryptocurrency as an incentive to keep the nodes transmitting messages. 

Self-defence

Yet, by relying on blockchain, Session is at risk of attack. Hackers could launch a Sybil attack, pretending to be thousands of nodes on the network in order to spy on it. 

But the app claims it is resilient to such attacks. It requires nodes to stump up some cryptocurrency as collateral in order to help operate the network. This makes it prohibitively expensive for a Sybil attacker.

At the same time, the app’s users can even keep the network secure and honest by running nodes and contributing to it. Because who better to look after your privacy than yourself?